Democratic Rep. Phylis King of Boise introduced legislation Monday to require clinical lab hires to secure the government’s permission before going to work.
A majority of House Health and Welfare Committee members voted to introduce King’s bill, allowing the panel to discuss it further in coming legislative days. Republican Reps. John Vande Woude of Nampa, Brandon Hixon of Nampa and Karey Hanks of St. Anthony voted against introduction.
King’s bill would create a new government license for anyone who wants to work in a clinical lab. The Boise Democrat, who told colleagues she worked in a medical lab for three decades, said the increasingly complex nature of clinical lab work necessitates the license.
The measure, she explained, would create a new government board to administer licenses and enforce regulations. The plan would also create three tiers of licenses for lab professionals, set standards and allow the newly created board to respond to ethics complaints.
Seeking to get ahead of potential critics, King told the panel her measure would grandfather in existing lab workers.
“No one will lose their job because of this bill,” she said.
She also hinted that special interest heavyweights, including the Idaho Hospital Association and the Idaho Medical Association, will likely find flaws with her proposal. She said medical facilities will see her proposal as redundant because they already hire qualified lab professionals.
King told her colleagues, medical facilities stand to benefit under her plan because the state would vet lab technicians so hospitals don’t have to. She touted other benefits, too.
“The board will actually benefit hospitals by keeping licensed practitioners up to date with continuing education,” she said.
The Idaho chapter of The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science supports King’s legislation and held a reception last Thursday to give laboratory workers the opportunity to lobby lawmakers on the issue.
King introduced similar legislation in 2016, but eventually asked the House Health and Welfare Committee to kill it because the measure needed refinement.